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Every year, MIT Technology Review selects the "top 10 breakthrough technologies" of that year. This list, which plays an important role in the global science and technology field, has accurately predicted the rise of many popular technologies such as brain computer interface, smart watch, cancer gene therapy, and deep learning.



As Bill Gates said, after seeing these breakthrough technologies, you will feel that "the bright future is worth fighting for".

In 2019, the top 10 global breakthrough technologies selected by MIT review include:

1. Smart robot

Significance: machines are learning to deal with the real world through self-learning. One day, when robots learn to deal with the real world, it's time for them to really liberate human hands.

Main researchers: openai, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan, University of California, Berkeley

Maturity: 3-5 years




The topic of machines replacing human work has been talked about for so many years, but at present, industrial robots are still stupid to death. Although the robot can repeat the same action repeatedly on the assembly line and maintain ultra-high accuracy, even if the target object is moved a little bit or replaced with different parts, it will be directly game over.

Today, although robots can't do the same as people, they can understand how to pick up objects when they see them, but now they can train repeatedly in virtual space and finally learn to deal with objects in front of them.

Openai, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, has launched such an AI system dactyl, and has successfully manipulated a robot hand to flip a magic cube flexibly


This set of neural network software can make the robot learn how to grasp and rotate the Rubik's cube in the simulated environment through reinforcement learning, and then let the robot hand carry out the actual operation. At the beginning, the software will make random attempts, and gradually strengthen the connection within the network in the process of constantly approaching the final goal.

At this stage, there are many difficulties in making robots more flexible. But if researchers can make good use of this learning method, robots of the future will be able to assemble electronic products, put tableware in the dishwasher, and even lift people out of bed.

2. New wave of nuclear energy

Significance: advanced nuclear fusion and fission reactors are becoming a reality. On the way to reduce carbon emissions and limit climate change, the role of nuclear energy is indispensable.

Main researchers: terrestrial energy, TerraPower, nuscale and general fusion

Maturity: the new nuclear fission reactor is expected to achieve large-scale application by the mid-2020's; the nuclear fusion reactor still needs at least 10 years.


This thing is too much to explain? Once we successfully break through nuclear fusion, the energy problem will be solved once and for all. Among them, China also plays an important role.

In the past year, new nuclear reactors have developed rapidly, and the use of nuclear energy will become safer and cheaper. The development of new reactors includes:

The fourth generation nuclear fission reactor that subverted the traditional design

Small modular reactor

Breakthrough of fusion reactor

Developers of the fourth generation nuclear fission reactors, such as terestial energy in Canada and terapower, based in Washington, have begun to establish research and development partnerships with power companies to achieve grid connected power generation by the 2020's (this estimate may be somewhat optimistic).


3. Prediction of premature delivery

Significant: 15 million babies are born prematurely every year, which is the main cause of death of children under five years old.

Main investigator: akna DX

Mature stage: it can enter clinical test within 5 years.

With preterm birth prediction, simple blood tests can predict whether pregnant women are at risk of premature delivery.

In the past few years, researchers have begun to test the DNA of tumor cells in the blood and to screen pregnant women for diseases such as Down's syndrome. These tests rely on looking for mutations in the DNA. RNA, on the other hand, is a molecular substance that regulates gene expression and determines how much protein is produced from a gene.

By sequencing the free floating RNA in the mother's blood, seven gene expression fluctuations related to premature delivery were screened out, which could identify women who might give birth prematurely. Once warned, doctors can take steps to avoid premature birth and give the child a better chance to survive.


4. Intestinal microcapsules

Significance: a small, swallowable device that can capture detailed images of the intestine without anesthesia. It is also suitable for infants and children. The device makes it easier to detect and study intestinal diseases, including one that stunts millions of children in poor areas.

Main investigator: Massachusetts General Hospital

Maturity: currently used in adults; infant trials are being conducted this year.

Environmental bowel dysfunction (EED) is probably one of the most expensive diseases you've never heard of. Characterized by intestinal inflammation, intestinal leakage and malnutrition, the disease is widespread in poor countries and is one of the reasons why many people in these areas are malnourished, stunted and unable to reach normal height.

No one knows what causes eed, and no one knows how to prevent or treat the disease. Practical detection means are imminent. At present, the only way is to anesthetize the patient and insert the endoscope into the throat. This method is expensive, uncomfortable and not necessarily useful.

So Guillermo tearney, a pathologist and engineer at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), has developed a small device that can detect the symptoms of EED and even perform tissue biopsy. Different from endoscopy, it is simple to use in the process of basic health care detection.




5. Customized cancer vaccine

Great significance: by identifying the specific mutations of each tumor, we can stimulate the human body's natural defense ability, thus targeted destruction of cancer cells. Traditional chemotherapy has a great impact on healthy cells, and the therapeutic effect on tumor is not always ideal.

Main researchers: biontech, Genentech

Mature stage: in clinical trials.

At present, scientists are at a critical moment in commercializing the first customized vaccine. If the effect is as expected, the vaccine can indeed trigger the human immune system to recognize the tumor through its unique mutation, thus effectively preventing the occurrence of a variety of cancers.

More importantly, unlike traditional chemotherapy, vaccines selectively destroy tumor cells through the use of the body's natural defense system, with limited damage to healthy cells.



6. Artificial meat Burger

Great significance: the artificial meat and vegetable meat produced in the laboratory can approach the taste and nutritional value of real meat without destroying the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and deforestation can be alleviated.

Main researcher: American Meat Company beyond meat

Mature stage: at present, there are formed vegetable meat; artificial meat in laboratory can be developed by 2020.



According to the United Nations forecast, the world's population will reach 9.8 billion by 2050, and the level of population prosperity will also rise. But that's not good for climate change - once people get out of poverty, they tend to eat more meat.

It is predicted that by 2050, humans will eat 70% more meat than in 2005. It has been proved that raising animals for human consumption is one of the greatest harm to the environment. Depending on the animal species, it takes 4 to 25 times more water, 6 to 17 times more land, and 6 to 20 times more fossil fuel to produce a pound of meat protein by western industrial methods than by producing the same amount of plant protein.

The problem is, people don't quit meat right away. In other words, laboratory grown artificial meat and vegetable meat may be the best way to curb environmental degradation.

The process of laboratory artificial meat is to extract muscle tissue from animals and then put it into a bioreactor for cultivation. Although the taste of the final product may need to be improved, it is similar to the meat we normally eat.


7. Capture carbon dioxide

Significance: the practical and economical way to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air can absorb excessive greenhouse gas emissions. Removing CO2 from the atmosphere may be one of the last viable ways to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Main researchers: carbon engineering, climeworks, global thermostat

Maturity: 5 to 10 years


Even if we reduce the current rate of carbon dioxide emissions, the warming effects of greenhouse gases will continue for thousands of years. To prevent temperatures from rising to dangerous ranges, the UN climate change Commission is currently concluding that in this century, the world will need to remove up to 1trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Today, a method called direct air capture (DAC) theoretically reduces the cost of machine carbon dioxide capture to less than $100 a ton.

8. can wear a cardiometer

Significance: with regulatory approval and advances in related technologies, it is easy to continuously monitor their heart health through wearable devices. Smart watches that can detect ECG can alert potential life-threatening heart diseases such as atrial fibrillation.

Major researchers: apple, alivecor, things

Maturity: now




You know more about this technology than I do~

ECG monitoring smart watch has come out, it has the convenience of wearable devices, and can provide accuracy close to medical devices. Silicon Valley start-up alivecor has launched an apple watch compatible wristband that can detect atrial fibrillation, a common cause of thrombosis and stroke.


Last year, Apple released its apple watch with an electrocardiogram (ECG) feature, which has been approved by the FDA. Later, things, a health equipment company, announced plans to release a watch with an electrocardiogram. At present, Wearable ECG monitoring equipment still has only one sensor, while the real ECG device has 12 sensors.



There's no wearable device that can diagnose heart disease, but it's likely to turn around soon.


9. Toilet without sewer

Significance: energy saving toilets can be used without a sewer system and can decompose feces on site. 2.3 billion people lack safe sanitation and many die as a result.

Main researchers: Duke University, University of South Florida, biomass controls, California Institute of technology

Maturity: 1-2 years

About 2.3 billion people around the world do not have good sanitation. Due to the lack of sanitary toilets, people dump feces into nearby ponds and streams, which can spread bacteria, viruses and parasites, leading to diarrhea and cholera. One in nine children worldwide dies of diarrhea.

Now, researchers are working to develop a new toilet that is cheap enough for developing countries to not only handle manure, but also decompose it. In 2011, Bill Gates challenged the reinvention of toilets and set up the X Prize.

Since the beginning of the challenge, several teams have put the toilet prototype into use. All the feces are treated in situ, and there is no need to use large amounts of water to transport them to remote treatment plants.




So the challenge now is to make these toilets cheaper and more adaptable to communities of different sizes.



10. AI assistant with fluent conversation

Significance: new technologies to capture semantic relationships between words are enabling machines to better understand natural languages. AI assistants can now perform dialogue based tasks, such as booking restaurants or coordinating luggage checks, rather than simply following simple commands.

Main researchers: Google, Alibaba, Amazon

Maturity: 1-2 years later

We're used to AI assistants - Voice assistants for smart speakers, Siri sets the alarm clock for you on your phone - but they're not really intelligent, and they're a bit "retarded.".

But it's getting better and better. Openai and Google's teams are speeding up. You may also think that the AI of Xiaomi's mobile phone has been able to talk to you continuously. This is progress.

These improvements, along with better speech synthesis systems, have moved us from simply giving instructions to AI assistants to talking to them. They will be able to handle daily chores such as taking minutes of meetings, finding information or shopping online.

In China, many people are getting used to Alibaba's honey. Xiaomi can help you communicate with the express brother by phone, and can bargain with customers.

How many of these ten technological breakthroughs have shocked you?

[warm tips] source: Guangdong innovation incubator Operation Research Institute, artificial intelligence scientist. The copyright belongs to the original author. If there is something wrong, please contact to inform us of modification or deletion. Thank you.




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